Purgatory Online

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Also reported on ESPN last night, and at the Times, is the fact that Brendan Donnelly has been cleared to resume light exercises. If all goes well, he should begin more strenuous exercise in a week.

Meanwhile, both Troy Glaus and Vlad Guerrero are banged up a little; Glaus sat out his second straight game with a "tweaked" hamstring, whatever the hell that means, and Guerrero DH'ed last night because of a sore knee. The latter was pretty evident after the game; ESPN showed a shot of him trotting onto the field to slap hands with his teammates, and he was clearly favoring his right leg. Guerrero scored from first on a Jose Guillen double and looked like he was running as flat-out as he could, so I suspect he probably will spend a good deal of time in the trainer's room today making sure he didn't really hurt himself, but he was all smiles after the game, despite looking like the love child of Buckwheat and Joe Cocker (yeah, I know: they're just dating).

Meanwhile, Bengie Molina made his long-awaited return last night. Having apparently lost interest in running the bases aggressively, Molina deposited a two-run shot in the bullpen and trotted around them instead. After a few innings of anemic offense and unsteady pitching, the Angels bounced back from a 4-0 deficit with a barrage of hits to score seven unanswered runs. Frankie Rodriguez pitched brilliantly in relief, identifying a spot low and just on the outside of the strike zone that was being called a strike by home plate umpire Jerry Meals, and returning to it again and again to get ahead of hitters. Troy Percival got his second save in as many appearances, Vlad Guerrero hit another home run, and Jose Guillen pitched in with that double down the third-base line to score the Angels' fifth and sixth runs, taking third on the throw to set up his own run scored when Tim Salmon grounded to third.

But what I really want to do right now is eat a little crow. And I mean a little, because it's still so early. However, the incredibly early, laughably-small-sample-size returns on Darin Erstad are looking more encouraging these days, and not just because he was three-for-three last night (and was on base all four times he came to the plate). If you'll recall, a few days ago I mentioned that Erstad was, unlike Salmon, hitting the ball hard quite a bit. That's still true, and Erstad had a terrific at-bat the other day against Texas's Colby Lewis, in which he eventually doubled. After Anderson's 0-for-4 performance last night, Erstad is now the only Angel to have a hit in every game. Granted, before last night it was exactly one hit in every game, making his average pretty crappy - but if he continues to make good contact the hits are going to start to fall. He still has too many strikeouts - eight, so far - and not enough walks - two - but six of his eight K's were in the first four games, and both of his walks were in the most recent two games. Like I said, it's still too early to tell what's going on - all I can say is that it bears watching. This will not, however, stop me from claiming credit for being the first on the story if Erstad has a good year.